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Until Return - Issue 5

Important Dates in Palestinian Arab History
Compiled by Nader Abuljebain
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

The following is a compilation of important dates and events in Palestinian Arab History for the month of May. For entire year, please see this page.

  • May 1: Labour Day
  • May 15: Al Nakba
  • May 28: P.L.O. establishment

1918 Arab-Jewish coordinating committee was formed by the British (8 May)

1921 Outbreak of demonstrations in Jaffa in May protesting large-scale Zionist immigration (21 May)

1930 The First Arab Palestinian bank founded

1935 The Second Arab Youth conference held in Haifa on May 10. Conference resolved to form Youth Conference Party.

1936 The Conference of the Palestinian National Committees (Allijan Al Qawmiah), in Jerusalem 7 May, called for No taxation without representation, Stopping Zionist Immigration, Ending the Occupation, and called for General revolt. 
Arab Higher Committee (Al Lajnah Al Arabiah Al U’lia) established.

1942 Zionist Conference, held at Biltmore Hotel in New York, formulates new policy of creating "Jewish Commonwealth" in Palestine and organizing Jewish army. (May 9-11)

1946 Palestinians strike in protest of the Anglo-American Commission in May. Simultaneous attacks by Haganah on eight major railroad and highway bridges. First Arab Summit in Anshas, Egypt, supports the Palestinian People’s struggle (28 May)

1947 UN General Assembly special session on Palestine problem leads to appointment of eleven-member Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP).

1948 Lebanon and Syria decide to send troops to Palestine when the British Mandate ends on May 15th.  Iraq dispatched troops to town of Mafraq, in TransJordan, en route to Palestine after May 15th. Three planeloads of arms for Haganah arrive from France. Between 175,000 and 200,000 Palestinian refugees are reported to have fled from areas taken by Zionists.  Jewish colonists from Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, ambush traffic on road to city.  The fall of towns and villages of Shajara (6), Bissan (8), and Safad (10). Zionist massacres at Ayn az Zaytun, (2), Al Abbasiyya (4), Bayt Daras (11), Burayr (12), Khubbayza (12), Abu Shusha (14), Al Tantoura (21), Al Kabri (21), and Al Khisas (25). Appointment of King Abdullah as  General Commander of the Arab Armies in Palestine. Unit of TransJordan Arab Legion, operating in Palestine under British command, shells Gush Etzion in retaliation for ambush. British announce it is studying transitional trusteeship regime for Palestine to take effect at end of Mandate. ALA unit under Michel Issa withdraws from Jaffa, ending city’s resistance. Haganah enters Jaffa.(10). State of emergency declared in all Arab countries and able-bodied Palestinians barred entry to them. Egyptian parliament decides to send troops to Palestine at end of Mandate. Arrival of second and third Czech arms consignments for Haganah. Arab Legion, ALA and local militias attack and capture Jewish colonies of Etzion bloc, retaliating for attacks on Al-Khalil (Hebron) road. An official British Communiqué announces the end of the Mandate on the eve of 14 May 1948 (12). Jaffa formally surrenders to Haganah (13). Lebanese First Lieutenant Mohamed Zughaib was killed in Malkiya battle (13). The massacre of the village of Abu Shousheh in Al Ramleh District (14). The departure of Sir Allan Kenningham the British High Commissioner in Palestine from the Port of Haifa (14). State of Israel proclaimed in Tel Aviv at 4 pm (14). Haganah launches Operation Schfifon to capture the Old City of Jerusalem.

May 15: British Mandate ends. Declaration of State of Israel comes into effect. U.S. President Truman recognizes the Zionist State of Israel. First Egyptian troops cross border into Palestine and attack colonies of Kfar Darom and Nirim in Al Naqab. Three TransJordanian Arab Legion brigades cross the Jordan River into Palestine. Lebanese troops retake Lebanese villages of Malkiya and Qadas (on Lebanese border), attacked and captured earlier by Haganah. Haganah captures Acre (17). Syrian troops retake Palestinian town of Samakh, south of Lake Tiberius, and capture Zionist colonies of Shaar Hagolan and Masada. Arab Legion units reach Latrun and consolidate blockade of coastal road to Jewish quarters in Jerusalem. Haganah breaks into the Old City of Jerusalem. Arab Legion comes to the rescue of Old City. UN Security Council appoints Count Folke Bernadotte as its mediator in Palestine (17). Egyptian Army enters Gaza (19). Another massacre in Beit Darras (21). Security Council resolution 50 calls for cease-fire (29). The Palestinian Commander Hasan Salameh is killed in the battle of Ras Al Ein near Jerusalem (31).

1949 Major demonstrations explode in the different West Bank cities calling for the rejection of the annexation, and calling for the formation of the Independent Arab Palestinian State. May 11, 1949, Israel becomes member of United Nations, by GAR 273, conditional on implementing the General Assembly Resolutions 181 and 194, which call for the right of return of the Palestinians and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

1953 295 Arabs, mostly civilians, killed by Israeli terror between January-May.

1959 The founding of The Liberation Authority (Haia’t Al Tahreer) in Gaza by Munir Al Rayes on May 15th.

1964 The Declaration of the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (Munathmat Al Tahrir Al Filasteeniah) on May 28, and the Palestinian National Covenant (Al Mithaq Al Qawmi) was declared after a convention attended by 422 Palestinian Personalities at the 1st Palestinian National Council held in Jerusalem, (28 May-2 June)

1965 The 2nd Palestinian National Council convenes in Cairo - declared that  Tunisian President Bouruiba’s statement calling upon the Arab states to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Israel, as  treason on May 31. Many Israeli attacks Arab Plan for water use of the Jordan River by diverting the river. (March, May, August)

1966 The 3rd Palestinian National Council convened in Gaza, called for arming the population in Gaza and the West Bank, on May 20th.

1968 UNSC resolution # 251 on May 2 deeply deploring Israel’s military parade in Jerusalem.  UNSC resolution # 252  May 21 Declared as invalid Israel’s acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish Capital.

1970 Following Israeli attack on Lebanon in May, UNSC resolution # 279 on May 12 demanded withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon, and UNSC resolution # 280  May 19 condemned the Israeli attack. US abstained. The 7th Palestinian National Council convened in Cairo May 30. Rejected the Rogers initiative, and affirms that only a popular war of liberation can bring a solution.

1972 Israeli raid launched against Hamma, Syria. 1st municipal elections in West Bank since 1963, announced on 26Nov, traditionalist, pro-Jordanian elite win the majority of seats. (28 March and 2 May). On 7 April, Israeli piper planes flew over the village of Akraba, spraying a chemical defoliant over the villagers’ wheat crops, and forcibly confiscated 100,000 dunums (25,000 acres) of villagers’ land.

1973 An Israeli Terrorist force assassinated Nada Yashriti.

1975 Israel commits  air raid/massacre against the civilians in the Lebanese villages of Aytharoun, and Kawnin.

1978 UNSC Resolution 427  May 13 that called for complete Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.  

1980 UNSC resolutions #’s # 468 on May 8 called on Israel to rescind illegal expulsion of two Palestinian Mayors, and # 469 on May 20 strongly deplored Israel’s failure to observe council’s order not to deport Palestinians. The 15 May, and  Arab People Struggle Organizations  announced in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

1983 May 17, Israeli Government Forces a so called_ Peace Treaty on Lebanon. (Nullified later). Geneva International Conference.

1985 On May 19, “The War of the Camps “started when the Lebanese Amal Party was bombing and shelling  Palestinian camps claiming to remove the residual power of ‘Arafat loyalists. Amal started after the Syrian blessed and sponsored "Tripartite Agreement" on May 9, between Amal (under Nabih Birri), the Lebanese Forces (under Ili Hubayqa, who had taken over from Samir Geagea) & the Progressive Socialist Party (under Walid Junblatt).

1988 US vetoed a UNSC on 10 May that condemned Israel’s May 2 incursion into Lebanon. (Vote: 14 to 1)          

1990 Israeli troops committed a massacre against the Palestinians workers waiting at a crossroads at Rishon Le Zion (Ayoun Qara) (20 May). US vetoed UNSC resolution 31May calling for fact-finding mission on abuses against  Palestinians in Israeli occupied lands. (Vote: 14 to 1)

1991 UNSC resolution # 694 May 24, deplored Israel’s deportation of Palestinians, demanded it ensure their safe and immediate return.

1994 Israel, PLO and Egypt sign First agreement for self-rule in enclaves of Gaza and Jericho, on May 4

1995 US vetoed  UNSC on 17 May which  condemned Israel’s intention of confiscating 134 Acres of land in East Jerusalem. (Vote: 14 to 1)

1996 Benjamin Netanyahu,  right-wing opponent of Oslo accords, elected Israeli Prime Minister. (May 29)

1999 Aihud Barak of the Labour Party becomes The Prime Minister of Israel.

2000 The Victory Day of 25 May, when the Israelis were defeated by the Arab Resistance of Lebanon and the Occupation withdrew from most of the Lebanese land. 

2001 Israeli troops infiltrated Gaza and its refugee camps killing many civilians. Further invasion and attack on Rafah camp (2 May). Report of international commission led by former US senator George Mitchell calls for a halt to all Israeli settlement building, and greater PA control over its security forces (5 May) - accepted by PLO, initially rejected by Israel. Israel shoots dead 5 Palestinian policemen (some of whom were asleep at the time) at a checkpoint near Ramallah (14 May)

2004 UNSC issued US abstention resolution # 1544 on May 19, condemning Israel’s military invasion of Gaza, and calling for an end  to the home demolitions


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